What Is Prosecco Wine? Your Ultimate Guide

Wine has always been a popular beverage of choice for socializing with friends or celebrating important occasions in your life.

It is very rare to attend a wedding or adult birthday party and not have any form of wine. One type of wine in particular has seen a steady increase in popularity over the past few years. 

What Is Prosecco Wine? Your Ultimate Guide

Prosecco has been marketed as the affordable and delicious alternative to champagne. However, despite its popularity people still know surprisingly little about this refreshing sparkling wine.

In this guide, we will look at where prosecco comes from, how it is made, and what to pair it with. 

What Is Prosecco?

Prosecco is a type of sparkling white wine that comes from the Valdobbiadene Region of Veneto in Italy. The wine is made with a specific type of grape which is what qualifies the wine as prosecco. 

Prosecco was created by Italian chemist Antonio Carpané in 1868. His goal was to create a sparkling white wine that was as good as the sparkling wine from champagne that was produced in Italy. 

What Grape Is Prosecco Made From?

As with its more expensive and revered counterpart, champagne, prosecco wine is made from a particular type of grape.

The Glera grape, also known as the prosecco grape, is a green grape with a strong aroma. It is commonly grown in Northern Italy, specifically in the Veneto and Friuli regions.

It has grown in this part of Italy for centuries. 

For prosecco wines to be considered a true prosecco in Italy, they must be made with a minimum of 85% Glera grapes. Vineyards and wineries can choose from a variety of other grapes to make up the other 15%.

Common choices are a blend of Bianchetta, Perera, Verdiso, Trevigiana, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay, or Pinot Noir grapes. 

Other than being aromatic, the Glera grape features a thin skin and moderate acidity level that is perfect for making sparkling wines.

One of the best things about the Glera grape is that it typically yields high quantities of wine. Wines that are made with Glera grapes tend to range from light to medium-bodied.

The alcohol levels of Glera wines range between 8.5% and 12.5%. The drier the wine, the stronger the alcohol content. 

It is common for Glera wines to be made with various aromas including peach, honey, melon, white flowers, and pear.

As with any industry, there is a desire to keep improving and coming up with new types of prosecco. In the past few years, a new rosè prosecco was approved for production.

There is a specific blend of Glera and Pinot Noir grapes that make this type of wine. 

How Is Prosecco Made?

Prosecco sparkling wine is with the Charmat Method, named after Eugène Charmat who invented the method. This can also be known as the Italian Method or the Tank Method. 

When the grapes have been harvested, they are transported directly to a winery where they are gently pressed.

The gentle pressing method ensures that only free-run juice from the center of the grape is extracted. A crop of 100 kilograms of grapes will yield around 70 liters of wine. 

The cloudy juice that is pressed from the grapes is left to settle. This process happens inside stainless steel tanks that are held at a temperature of between 5 – 10 degrees Celsius.

This stage of the process takes between 10 – 12 hours from the pressing. 

Once the cloudy part of the juice has settled, a natural yeast is added to the wine. This triggers the first fermentation process. During fermentation, natural sugars in the juice are converted into alcohol.

On average, the fermentation process for prosecco takes between 15 – 20 days. Throughout this stage of prosecco production, the tanks are held at a constant temperature of between 18 – 20 degrees Celsius. 

Once this process is complete, additional sugar and yeast are added to the wine. The entire mixture is then transferred to a large stainless steel pressure cooker where the second fermentation process takes place.

During this process, the yeast metabolizes the sugar and as it ferments, carbon dioxide is released. Because the container is sealed, there is nowhere for the gas to go.

This pressurizes the container and, in turn, carbonates the wine. This is what makes it a sparkling wine.

The longer the batch of wine is left in the tank, the stronger the aromas will be and the finer and longer lasting the bubbles will be.

The longer this stage of the process takes, the more expensive the bottles become. Charmat Lungo prosecco takes up to 9 months to make, this is a higher quality prosecco and therefore is one of the most expensive.

Despite some proseccos taking a long time to make with the tank method, it is actually an extremely efficient method. It is this efficiency that ensures that prosecco remains affordable and is cheaper than champagne. 

Once the wine has been fermented long enough to achieve the desired alcohol level, it is cooled and filtered to remove all the yeast. A certain amount of sugar is kept to provide additional sweetness to the wine.

The prosecco is then bottled which happens under pressure to retain the bubbles. The secondary fermentation process must take a minimum of 30 days to perfect the wine. 

What Is Prosecco Wine? Your Ultimate Guide (1)

Where Is Prosecco Made?

Prosecco is made in the Northern part of Italy. There are nine provinces within the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions.

The wine gets its name from a village in the area that used to be known as prosecco. Now, the village has been incorporated into a suburb of the town of Trieste. 

Some of the best prosecco vineyards can be found in the hills surrounding Asolani and Valdobbiadene.

The Conegliano-Valdobbiadene region is known throughout the wine industry for its stunning rolling hills full of prosecco vineyards.

In this region, the vineyards benefit from plenty of rainfall, southern-facing slopes, and adequate drainage with gentle winds. All of this helps to provide the perfect conditions for growing grapes. 

Types Of Prosecco

There are three different types of prosecco that refer to the quality of the wine.

The three categories are known as DOC (controlled designation of origin), DOCG (denomination of controlled and guaranteed origin), and Superiore.

These categories also relate to the regions and areas where the wines are produced. 

If Glera grapes are used to make wine in a prosecco style outside of areas that are designated DOC and DOCG cannot be labeled or marketed as prosecco. 

Prosecco DOC

This type of prosecco is a basic wine that is produced all over the Northeast area of Italy. The quality of this wine is more common and is cheaper than DOCG. It is the lowest quality of prosecco wine that you can get. 

Within this category of prosecco, there are two different types. Prosecco Trieste DOC and prosecco Treviso DOC are two types of DOC prosecco that are made in separate regional designations.

They both represent the basic quality of prosecco wine. 

Prosecco DOCG

This category is reserved for areas of prosecco production that have high-quality soil, steep hills, and ample drainage.

The sunlight also has to hit the vineyards in the right way and the hills need to be curved in such a way that ventilation is increased.

The grapes used for this category of prosecco must be manually harvested to filter out any rotten grapes that could affect the flavor of the wine. 

Because of the requirements that need to be met in order for a vineyard to qualify for this category of prosecco, there are much fewer wineries that produce this quality of wine.

This added level of exclusivity means that prosecco from this category is going to be more expensive than DOC and will be of higher quality. 

Valdobbiadene Superiore

This category is one of the smallest wine regions in the world. It is made up of only 264 acres. The category gets its name from the Italian town of Valdobbiadene.

This type of prosecco has an incredibly low production rate because of the small acreage.

However, the rare wines that are produced are highly acclaimed and are widely considered to be the highest-quality prosecco in the world.

You may sometimes see this category of prosecco being referred to as the Grand Cru.

What Pairs Well With Prosecco?

One of the most important things to consider when you are learning about wine is what it pairs well with. This is important if you are looking to use prosecco at dinner parties and gatherings with friends. 

Thankfully, prosecco is an incredibly versatile wine and can be served with many different foods. Some of the most popular options include strong cheese, cured meats, and fish.

The aromas of the prosecco also pair beautifully with oysters and fried food as the sweetness helps to cut through the oil. 

Prosecco is a wine that is typically drunk on its own as well as with food. Within Italian culture, prosecco is a ubiquitous drink.

However, internationally, it is considered to be more of an aperitif wine or used for toasts at events. 

Prosecco Cocktails

Because prosecco is such a light and aromatic wine, it makes the perfect base for a number of different cocktails.

There are a few different cocktails that can be made with prosecco, some of which are more well-known than others. Below are some of the best prosecco cocktails you can make. 


Bellinis are one of the most popular prosecco cocktails available. This is an incredibly simple cocktail that is made up of just prosecco and nectar or puree. This is quite a sweet cocktail. 


Perhaps the most well-known prosecco cocktail in the world is the mimosa. It is made up of prosecco and orange juice. This is a cocktail that is particularly popular at brunches.

You will most often see this cocktail served earlier in the day. 

Aperol Spritz

For a slightly more tarte cocktail, the Aperol Spritz is perfect. Consisting of prosecco, Aperol, and soda water, this is perfect for people who don’t want something too sweet. 

What Is Prosecco Wine? Your Ultimate Guide (2)


The Hugo cocktail is probably less well-known than the other cocktails that we have already mentioned. It is a very fragrant and light cocktail. Consisting of prosecco, elderflower cordial, soda water, lime, and mint. Perfect for a hot summer’s day. 


Another lesser-known cocktail is the Sgroppino. This is a really fun cocktail that is made up of lemon sorbet and vodka, topped with prosecco.

This is a creamy cocktail that feels like a refreshing treat. 

What To Look For When Buying Prosecco

Despite there only being three different categories of prosecco, there are still some things that you should look out for when you are buying a bottle to ensure that you end up with the best possible product. 

The most important thing to look for when buying prosecco is that it came from Italy. There are many international companies that make wine that write prosecco on their bottles but the wine inside is not true prosecco. 

You should also make sure that you are checking that the wine has been made with at least 85% Glera grape. This helps to verify the authenticity of the prosecco.

Bottles of genuine prosecco should cost around $20. If you are unsure, you should visit a specialist wine shop to speak to trained staff.

Prosecco is one of the most commonly falsified types of wine in the world. Because of this, it can be easy to end up with a wine that isn’t truly prosecco.

Using these simple markers can help ensure that you end up with an authentic, quality prosecco.

Final Thoughts

Prosecco is a wonderfully light sparkling wine that is perfect for celebrations on a budget. There are many products on the market that attempt to copy this specific wine but not all bottles labeled prosecco are the real deal.

You can use some simple markers to make sure that you are getting the right type of wine for your dinner party or celebration.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Temperature Should Prosecco Be Served At?

For the best experience, prosecco should be served chilled. A temperature between 6 and 10 degrees is ideal. Prosecco should be stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it.

Once opened, the bottle should be kept in an ice bucket to keep it chilled. 

What Glass Is Used For Prosecco?

While prosecco’s more expensive cousin, champagne is commonly served in a flute, prosecco has different needs. The shape of a glass can significantly affect the taste of the wine.

For the best taste, prosecco should be served in a tulip-shaped glass. This helps to preserve the bubbles and collect the aromas of the wine.

How Long Does Open Prosecco Last In The Fridge?

Sometimes, you might not want to finish a bottle of prosecco in a single night.

If you are planning on storing your bottle of prosecco after opening it, you should use a hermetic stopper cork to seal the bottle immediately after opening it.

This will help to preserve the bubbles. Your prosecco should be consumed within three days of opening the bottle. 

Sarah Perez
Scroll to Top